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M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Dan Springer, DocuSign

By October 5, 2017Article

When Dan Springer joined DocuSign as CEO in January, he knew he was filling the “big shoes” of longtime CEO Keith Krach. But Springer stepped in as a heavyweight himself, having turned around Responsys and leading it to an IPO and subsequent acqusition by Oracle.

I spoke with the veteran software leader about how he intends to enhance DocuSign’s culture, keep the enthusiasm of his customer base, and what his employees say the state of his inbox says about his ability to get things done.

M.R. Rangaswami:  How is taking over at DocuSign different from the years you spent building Responsys? How do you communicate your own unique “inspiring vision” for DocuSign?

Dan Springer: Keith is a phenomenal leader, and he is still very much involved as active Chairman in the company and is particularly focused on helping us expand our international presence. This is of tremendous value because Keith is the most exceptional sales and business development executive I’ve known in all my years. 

Different from taking over my last company Responsys, DocuSign is not a turnaround story. When I started as CEO of DocuSign in January, the company was in great standing with solid financials, leadership, and company culture. Responsys was very much the opposite in nearly every way. After 10 years of rebuilding the company, we were able to have a successful IPO and later sold the company to Oracle for $1.6B.

Today, DocuSign is strategically positioned as not only the category pioneer but also the market leader in eSignatures for everyone from the Fortune 100 to smaller and mid-sized businesses globally.

My vision is to build on the strong culture we have in place and ensure DocuSign is every employee’s best place they have ever worked. I believe the customer is the center of the universe for our business. And on that point, I strongly believe that creating a great environment for our employees inevitably translates into happy customers. And, although we have over 2,200 employees across 13 global offices, we really try to act like a small company. I’ve found this creates an environment of open communication, transparency, and greater collaboration.

M.R.:  Part of DocuSign’s success stems from its simplicity and expansive market. How do you continue to grow the user base without losing its simple proposition? What do you hear from your customers regarding the next direction they want DocuSign to take?

Dan: Today DocuSign has more than 300,000 customers and more than 200 million users across 188 countries. In fact, over 2 million new unique users join DocuSign every week, which represents a 135% year-over-year user growth. We’ve seen some tremendous growth and scale of our business, and during this time we’re staying super focused being nimble and providing a world class and easy to use product to our customers. Our customers are using DocuSign to digitally sign agreements quickly, easily and securely. We’re also seeing that our customers are using DocuSign to streamline and automate their business processes and come to agreement faster.

As we grow our market presence, a continued focus on customer success is key for us. With over 200 million users, our core goal is to make each and every one of them giant fans of DocuSign. We’ve aligned our teams in such a way where we’re really able to ensure they understand how to get the most value out of using DocuSign. We have customer success and enablement teams aligned by geography, and are aligned by industry and segment. They are catalysts to ensuring our customers receive the best possible experience with using DocuSign.

Additionally, product innovation is an area where we are really doubling down. Continuing to digitize our customers’ businesses and providing an easy to use, reliable, and secure eSignature platform is critical to our continued growth. As part of this focus on product innovation, further strengthening our product integration partnerships is very important and a key “ask” of our customers. We have product integrations with industry leading applications from Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Google, Oracle, Workday, and many others. Thriving in a heterogeneous environment has allowed us to scale, and continuing to invest in deepening these partnerships will pay out dividends to our clients, which is super important to us.

M.R.:  What does your personal workspace look like? How do you arrange it and/or what elements do you include there so that you can be as productive as possible?

Dan: My office is pretty simple. Of course I have my desk with a few family photos on it. But I spend the majority of my time at the eight-person meeting table where we hold many of our internal meetings. 

You won’t find any kind of paper around my desk, just my phone, monitor and TV at the far end of the room for live video conferencing which always comes in handy to communicate with our global teams.

People say I have a clean desk policy both literally and figuratively: At the end of the day, people that know me know that I don’t go to bed until every email is out of my inbox.


M.R. Rangaswami is the co-founder of Sand Hill Group and publisher of


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